Monday, January 31, 2011

Salt City Dishes Wrap Up

Hi there! My name's Christine and I'm helping out with the social media for Salt City DISHES by mainly blogging, using our Twitter account (@SaltCityDishes), as well as posting things to the Facebook Fan Page.

For those of you who weren’t able to attend, the inaugural event was held at the St. Clare Theater on North Salina Street, on Syracuse’s North Side. The theater had a comfortable and cozy atmosphere, with small candles lining the tables throughout the room, along with strands of lights strung across the ceiling. DJs from WAER, Syracuse's local campus radio, played background music as the guests arrived.

Briana's homemade cupcakes were also a hit (and very pretty to look at!)

Once everyone was seated, our hosts for the night, Briana and Stasya, welcomed everyone to the event, thanking everyone who was able to help make it a reality. While listening to them speak, I thought about not only the importance of this event for a city like Syracuse, but its ability to bring together groups of people who might all share the same cause, but might not have been necessarily ever able to ever meet if it was not for DISHES. It made me proud to be able to be able to work with this organization.

Nine groups gave presentations about how they planned to use the money from DISHES to better Syracuse or the surrounding area. After the groups presented, our diners voted on the project they believed had the most potential -- awarding them $1,000 to realize their project.

The first presenters were Thomas and Meg from Library Far. Library Farm allows people to "check out" a plot of land at the Northern Onondaga Public Library in Cicero, NY, where they can grow their own fruits and vegetables. Anyone is allowed to sign up and begin using a plot of land.


Joe, Mike, Ken and Vanessa presented their idea for hosting an Upstate Improv Festival in Syracuse on April 8 & 9, 2011. The event would be "another reason for young artists to visit and perform in Syracuse," they said, and would be based on other such festivals in Providence, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. In addition to comedy performances, the festival would provide workshops on improvisational skills.

Tonja Torgerson and Joel Weissman, with Syracuse Urban Beautification Public Arts Resistance (SUBPAR), were next to present.

View the video of their winning proposal on our Facebook page, as well as a summary of their project on our blog as well or within the article that appeared in The Eagle. One of the things that I liked most about their proposal was the amount of detail for each individual tile that would be placed to make the city more aesthetically pleasing.


Daniel Alguilera from Syracuse Community Cookbook Series was next to present. He proposed collaborating with the Photography and Literacy (PAL) Project and La Casita Cultural Center where the cookbooks would not only pass down recipes to younger generations, but allow them to become more engaged within in their culture. Listening to his proposal, I thought of the recipes that have been passed down to me from my grandparents and how important they are to me.


Jay Muhlin and Nathaniel Sullivan, from Walking on Water, were up after Daniel. They proposed a collaborative audio tour for those wishing to walk down Water Street from Crouse Avenue to Clinton Square. Being within their 'target' audience, one of the interesting things that I took away from this presentation was their solution of trying to make more students walk downtown. I was initially hesitant at first, but after listening to their presentation, believed in their project and wanted it to succeed.


Storefront for Syracuse presented after a short intermission, proposing to revitalize old abandoned store fronts in Syracuse's downtown area, making them usable for local artists and students wishing to use them for exhibitions, and giving a new look to Syracuse's downtown.


Sara Mills from Art Cart presented her idea of a mobile bus with art supplies that would travel to outdoor locations throughout the city, providing free art activities within the community.


Skillshare was the second to last group to present: they proposeda day of free community workshops for anyone with a skill they would want to share with others. This past summer, Skillshare included workshops such as Real-World Community First Aid, Composting 101, Community Bike Repair and Divine Decks.


The final presentation was from FiboCuse, whose goal was to define the Fibonacci Spiral in Syracuse and gradually expand it beyond the city. Markers defining the spiral would be placed throughout the city and would be made between a collaboration of local high school students and artists.

Out of all of the night’s presentations, this was the most interesting and unique approach in attempting to improve Syracuse's overall image. I had heard of the Fibonacci sequence before, but never applied in this way. I hope that this project does become implemented, because of its originality and promise for Syracuse.

The night ended with a performance from Brown Bird, whose music perfectly complimented the atmosphere of the night. Overall, it was an amazing time and a great way to meet new artists and thinkers within Syracuse. I cannot wait for our next event in May and I am excited for what new ideas I will see there!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

About the cupcakes served at DISHES.....

Yummmy.... nothing like a delicious cupcake to follow-up a delicious dinner! I was talking with your sweet-tooth the other day about the cupcakes served at the DISHES dinner last weekend and they asked me, "Who made those and can I get the recipe?" Absolutely! One of the lovely co-directors, Briana, made those special not only for the vegan's at heart but for everyone! Now, you too can share these cupcakes with those you love. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Documenting DISHES

In addition to fantastic video documentation of the event done by Daylight Blue Media, we were fortunate enough to have Robyn Stockdale capturing the energy and emotion of the evening with her photo-camera.

Simply put: Robyn blew us away with her photographs.

Check out the full album on our facebook fan page.
Like what you see? Give the talented woman some love on her site and Graphik Nature Studios facebook page.

The winning presentation - SUBPAR!

What an exciting time we all experienced watching the presentations at the debut DISHES event! Enjoy this live recording of Joel and Tonja's presentation, SUBPAR, and share in our enthusiasm for this winning project. Congratulations!

SUBPAR Winning Presentation at 1/23/11 DISHES from Daylight Blue Media on Vimeo.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Congratulations to Tonja Torgerson and Joel Weissman! Their project, SUBPAR, presented at the first Salt City DISHES on 1/23/11, won the audience over and secured themselves a $1000 grant to realize their project. Hurray!

Syracuse Urban Beautification Public Art Resistance” SUBPAR is meant to integrate challenging art into the visual landscape of Syracuse. Dereliction and mass media advertising dominate the physical and mental environment of our city. SUBPAR aims to create street art installations that offer critical perspectives while forcing beauty into the urban surroundings.

As an initial venture, SUBPAR’s founding members (Tonja Torgerson and Joel Weissman) are creating hand-made ceramic tiles as a form of unconventional street art. This project involves multiple installations that are spread throughout the city. Due to the hand-made nature of these tiles we are able to create a huge array of shapes and sizes that are specific to the location. This project also utilizes screen-printed imagery and text on these tiles to draw attention to the current neglect of Syracuse’s urban environment.

Syracuse has suffered from a vicious cycle of urban decay. As businesses have failed and buildings have become abandoned, the center of the city becomes more vacant while new, excessive, business complexes are constructed away from the city’s heart. Even more detrimental to the street life of Syracuse is the placement of the interstate system through the city’s center. This makes it difficult to traverse and experience the city in any means besides a vehicle. These conditions create an atmosphere that is crippling to the creation of a pedestrian culture and urban vibrancy within Syracuse. SUBPAR intends to counteract this lackluster environment by developing beauty in the urban environment and re-appropriating spaces for art within the public realm.

The creation of site-specific street art installations is only a catalyst for the greater objective. The works created by SUBPAR serve to prompt individuals and collectives to recognize the need for civic improvement.


Join us at the next Salt City DISHES dinner on May 1st to hear how their project is going.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

DISHES inaugural event is SOLD OUT!

It's astonishing to be SOLD OUT for the debut DISHES event, though we were crossing our fingers and toes the entire time. Thanks for purchasing your tickets in advance and ensuring that the winning project will receive the prize of $1000 to realize their project. In fact, all the presenters are winners because they are promoting their projects to many hungry people (mind and belly!)

Just to clarify, sold out means sold out. We are unable to admit anyone without a ticket to this evening's event and we would like to apologize in advance if we have to turn you away. The St. Clare theatre is at capacity and we want to ensure everyone's safety.

The next DISHES dinner/community art event will be on May 1st.
Thanks everyone!!

Where is The St. Clare Theatre?

St. Clare theatre is located off N. Salina St - up the parking lot between Assumption Church and Pavia's Market. Use address 840 N. Salina for your gps or online map search. There is plenty of parking in the lot of off-street.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sponsor Spotlight: Wegmans and TOPS

An enormous thank you to the Pond Street Wegmans and to the Shop City TOPS, which donated the gift cards that made it possible for us to put together a delectable menu.

We thank the management of both stores for their commitment to the North Side, and to recognizing the energy in our community!

Sponsor Spotlight: Local Farms

We think of Syracuse as post-industrial, formerly urban, rust-belt city. And, as attendees tomorrow night will see, so many of the presentations reflect that self-same gritty character. So it's hard to remember, sometimes -- especially in the winter -- that we're surrounded by farms.

But our chefs have pulled together a delicious menu that's sure to remind you.

And they wouldn't have been able to do it without donations from Robert Hunter, of Hunter Farms, who has supplied the garlic; Horsford Farms, where we picked our own massive amounts of carrots, potatoes, onions, and lettuce; Owen Orchards, which generously donated the apples that will be used for the candied apple and walnut salad; and Autumn's Harvest Farms, which donated meat.

It takes a village to feed a village. Thank you, sponsors, for making it possible to serve DISHES that are farm to table!

Sponsor Spotlight: Wagner Brewing Company


We all know that an extra beer or two helps to keep away the Salt City winter blues. (I think that only in 18th century London did people drink more beer per capita. Read James Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson, LLD for details.)

And with the mercury registering below zero on Sunday, we'll certainly need the extra calories. By the way, in a detail that you couldn't make up, the beer we'll be serving is called "Sled Dog."

Thanks to Wagner Brewing Company for donating the "Sled Dog" that will make it possible for attendees and presenters to carry on in good cheer! And special thanks to our chef, Luke Szabo, for organizing the donation.

P.S. If the beer whets your appetite for more, Wagner's, on nearby Seneca Lake, is open year-round for tastings.

Sponsor Spotlight: 2nd Story Cafe & Bookstore

As DISHES wraps up on Sunday evening, we'll be serving coffee and cookies courtesy of 2nd Story Cafe & Bookstore, 550 Westcott Street.

If you haven't had the chance to stop by -- and from the way that tickets have been selling out at 2nd Story, it seems as though many of you have -- you should!

2nd Story sells Gimme! coffee, which is roasted in Syracuse. If the Ithaca connection doesn't have you convinced, consider this: Time Out New York recently named Gimme to its Top Ten list of best coffee destinations in New York City (the company has outposts in Brooklyn and downtown Manhattan).

2nd Story is open every day except Thursdays, and serves a delicious brunch, if you're looking for something a bit more substantial than a cookie or scrumptious banana bread. And there's no better place to beat the winter blues, with tea, a cookie, and a novel, than in this warm, welcoming cafe.

Thanks, Alexis, for your generosity!


A feast for your eyes, ears, and bellies! Your taste-buds will be dancing and your bellies smiling with this delicious menu:

Swiss Chard Feta Bites (VEG)
Mini Maple Braised Chuck Tacos

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (V, Gluten free)

Beef and Potato Stew

Candied Apple and Walnut Salad (V, Gluten free)

Oyster Mushroom and Swiss Chard Souffle (VEG)

Roasted Tomato and Fennel Fettuccini (VEG)

Fresh Baked Bread from Columbus Baking Company

Pumpkin Pie, variety of cookies, vegan cupcakes and other assorted desserts

Specially prepared by Sarah Pallo and Luke Szabo! Many of the ingredients for tonights dinner were lovingly donated by local farms. See Sponsor Highlights for more info.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Post-Standard coverage; menu, more "sponsor spotlights" coming soon

Thanks to the Post-Standard for the write-up. We hope to see you on Sunday!

We have a host of sponsors to spotlight today, among them the local farms that have provided the squash, garlic, carrots, potatoes, onions, and lettuce chefs Luke Szabo and Sarah Pallo are using to cook this Sunday's feast. Check back soon for updates, plus a full menu.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sponsor Spotlight: Public Arts Task Force

Long before DISHES was but a twinkle in our eyes, the Public Arts Task Force (PATF) was conceiving and initiating public arts events throughout Syracuse. Co-Chaired by Vanessa Rose and Briana Kohlbrenner, PATF -- as its mission statement puts it -- is "comprised of artists, community leaders, arts organizations, and interested volunteers who believe that public art is a powerful tool in community building."

Ongoing projects include Lipe Art Park, the Onondaga Creek Parade (slated for the spring), and Rack Pack, an initiative to design and build five bike racks throughout the city. PATF has also made make possible such events as PARK(ing) Day and the much beloved-Salt City Urban Art & Craft Market.

PATF meets at 5:30 pm on the first Thursday of every month at the Everson Museum. We thank the group for making Salt City DISHES possible!

Sponsor Spotlight: Small Potatoes

Thanks to Martin Butts over at Small Potatoes, a Syracuse-based sales, marketing, and advocacy firm, attendees to the debut Salt City DISHES will be enjoying Flour City Lemon Garlic Fettuccini Pasta.

Small Potatoes works with small-scale and start-up companies that produce natural, organic, and fair trade foods in Central New York. It also works with restaurants, schools, retailers, and community organizations to devise strategies to buy and sell locally produced goods. Small Potatoes clients include Flour City Pasta, Recess Coffee House & Roastery, Syracuse Soapworks, Better Brittle, and Superfood Citizens Initiative.

You can visit Small Potatoes on the Web here.

Thanks, Martin!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sponsor spotlight: Columbus Baking Company

We're delighted to announce that Columbus Baking Company will be donating the bread for our debut community dinner on Sunday, January 23.

Columbus Baking Company (502 Pearl Street; 315-422-2913) is an anchor business on the Northside. And by anchor business, we mean it; Columbus has been in business for 115 years.

Thrilled? We are too. Go ahead - you can even "like" it. Visit the company on Facebook by clicking here.

We thank you for your generosity, and we commend you for your commitment to Syracuse and the Northside!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

It's Pretty

We've plastered this lovely flyer all over town! Maybe you've seen it in your favorite coffee shop??

Salt City DISHES article in local paper!

The City Eagle, January 11th, 2011, by Ami Olson

The dish on Salt City DISHES

Community dinners generate microgrants for arts-based community projects

Get in on the ground floor for just ten bucks.

It sounds like a scam, but it isn't – when Salt City DISHES holds its first quarterly dinner Sunday Jan. 23, participants will consider pitches for different community-based arts projects, then vote to fund one of the projects with a microgrant established that night from the dinner admission proceeds.

And the cost to eat, view the pitches, vote and help fund the resulting project? $10. (Or $15; admission is on a pay-what-you-can sliding scale.)

Salt City DISHES, (an acronym for Dining In. Support Happenings. Enliven Syracuse), is based on the similar Brooklyn FEAST program, created by a friend of Salt City DISHES co-founder Rachel Somerstein.

When Somerstein relocated to Syracuse last August, she saw a similar need for funding community improvement projects with a heavy dose of public art.

As of the Jan. 10 deadline for proposals, Somerstein said eight had been submitted and another handful were expected to sneak in.

She wouldn't hint at what the potential projects entailed – they'll be unveiled at the dinner – but did say she had hoped they would be thoughtful and creative, "and they are."

Somerstein said the St. Clare Theater can hold around 130 people, and she hopes to raise around $1,000 to offer to the first DISHES project.

But since it's a microgrant situation, whoever wins the funding will be held accountable for following through on their project.

At the next DISHES dinner in May, whoever wins this month's monies will present their progress. If it isn't finished, and it ought to be, they'll have to explain why – directly to the people who helped fund their work.

The DISHES steering committee includes Somerstein and co-founders Brianna Kohlbrenner and Stasya Panova; Sara Caliva, director of Northside UP; chefs Sarah Pallo and Luke Szabo; filmmaker Courtney Rile; photographer Robyn Stockdale and Jeff York, in charge of music.

DISHES runs from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Sunday Jan. 23 at St. Clare Theater, 840 N. Salina St. Tickets will be available at the door, or in advance at Craft Chemistry, Second Story Café and Sound Garden.

The menu has not been finalized yet but the food (made with donated ingredients) will be prepared two local chefs, while Rhode Island-based folk funk band Brown Bird entertains.

If you have an idea for a DISHES project, but missed the January deadline, send your proposal in early for the May dinner;

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

RFP Now Closed; Thanks for your Proposals!

We're thrilled by the response to our RFP, which is now closed. If you weren't able to make your proposal for this time around, take heart -- the next installment of DISHES is (tentatively) slated for May 1.

We look forward to seeing you all on the 23rd! In the meantime, if you'd like to purchase tickets in advance, you can do so at C2 (745 N. Salina Street), 2nd Story Cafe & Bookstore (550 Westcott Street, 2nd floor), and The Sound Garden (310 W. Jefferson Street).

Monday, January 10, 2011

An Open Letter to Procrastinators

You know who you are.

You are in good company.

Some of us at DISHES -- despite our love of deadlines -- are known for turning things in at the wire.

We have turned in applications to graduate school with seven hours until the deadline. We have filed stories, shipped magazines, proofread articles with precious minutes to spare.

In short -- we know what it's like. We worship The Deadline, too.

As of this writing, you have about T minus 11 hours to submit.

Let's make it a photo finish, people.

We look forward to reading your work.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Put yourself in good company and submit your project for DISHES!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Three more days!

Salt City DISHES is officially on the map at Sunday Soup Network.

When you make a proposal, you're not only doing something for your city.

You're joining a national movement.

Send proposals to

Monday, January 3, 2011

Accepting proposals thru Jan 10!

Few spots remain! Dont miss this unique opportunity to share your idea with an audience and the chance to fund your project!